Author Archive

Sep
19

Sept 19 Devo

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Pain Relief
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:21
Every person at some point in their lives has experienced pain as the result of a physical injury. And what do most people do when they’re in pain? They look for anything that will take the pain away.

Unfortunately, no treatment or miracle drug can take away the pain of our sin. And in this broken, sinful world, that pain leads to death—our eternal separation from God.

If you’re experiencing pain, here’s a reminder of some great news!

We can find the ultimate relief from our pain in Jesus Christ.

He gives us the strength we need to overcome many challenges we face in life (Philippians 4:13). And his death on the cross was an offering for our sin. It relieved us of our fair punishment of separation from God for eternity. When we place our faith in Jesus, we’re made right with God, no matter who we are (Romans 3:22).

We all sin and will continue to sin. And the consequences of these sins will lead to more pain. But God gives us the gift of salvation, not because of what we’ve done, but because of His endless mercy and grace. When we put our faith in Jesus and believe that he died on the cross for our sin and that God raised him from the grave, we will be saved and our pain will be relieved.

Are you in pain? Can you trust Jesus to take that pain away?










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Today’s author: Mark Henderson—Founder of The Inspired Legacy
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Sep
18

Sept 18 Devo

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God needs no name tag to jog his memory about you. He has more thoughts about you than the Pacific coast has grains of sand!

I read a story about a man walking the shores of a lake in silence with his uncle. The man noticed his uncle was smiling. “Uncle,” he said, “you look very happy.” “I am” his uncle agreed. “How come?” the man asked. “The Father of Jesus is very fond of me,” his uncle said.

He’s fond of you, too, dear friend. What’s that? Do you think I’m talking to someone who is holier, better, or nicer? Someone who didn’t screw up his marriage or mess up her career. I’m not. I’m talking directly to you. God loves you. And His love for you will not end or fade if you lose your way. You have never lived one unloved day. This is God’s promise.

And because God’s promises are unbreakable our hope is unshakable!






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Max Lucado
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Sep
16

Sept 16 Devo

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I thought I'd post this as there's been discussion about this amongst the brethren. You may not agree, and that's fine. I highly respect this man and his insight.


QUESTION

Good Afternoon Mr. Russell

My question surrounds the current Nike® Ad Campaign. It is not so much about my feelings regarding Colin Kaepernick but around the bigger issue of Christians boycotting businesses. I have been in lots of conversations and have seen lots of Facebook posts regarding this issue. It feels overwhelming for me to have to take the time to scrutinize every business that I purchase items from. Attempting to determine what they stand for or against, the management and employee practices, as well as the methods used to make their products (sweatshops, etc.) seems nearly impossible. Do you have any suggestions how Christians can honor or dishonor God through our buying habits?

MY ANSWER

I seldom encourage Christians to boycott a particular business simply because we disagree with the owner’s policies. I have even less enthusiasm about participating in a boycott of Nike® products for the following reasons:

– The Nike® decision to use Colin Kaepernick as the face of their business is not a clear violation of a Biblical principle. The disagreement people have with Nike® is based on patriotic feelings, not on a Biblical command. The majority of white people regard anyone who doesn’t stand at attention during the national anthem as disrespecting our nation and denigrating our heroes. The majority of African Americans (including many Christians who are black) see the protests as a tangible way to express dissatisfaction with racist attitudes that still exist in America and that need to improve. My strong personal preference is that everyone stands at attention, but I can’t cite a clear Biblical principle that is being violated. *(See “Five Reasons Why I Choose to Stand at Attention During the National Anthem,” Sept 4, 2016)

– Even when there is a Biblical command that’s breached, organized boycotts don’t work very well. Remember when national Christian leaders encouraged believers to boycott Disney World because Disney hosted a Gay Pride week? The subsequent boycott was a blip on the screen. That kind of action may have been more effective a few decades ago when there was a higher percentage of Christians in the country. We are now very much in the minority. The recent book, The Great Evangelical Recession by John Dickerson suggests only about 9% of Americans are evangelical Christians.

– Organized boycotts give followers of Christ a negative image. The mainstream media seems to delight in portraying believers as hateful and judgmental, and boycotts provide them with additional, fresh ammunition. We can’t avoid ridicule from the world, but it’s counter-productive to be deliberately offensive.

– Boycotts often punish fellow believers. Hundreds of Disney employees are Christians. My grandchildren love going to Disney World. There is a funny, old tale where a man laments having a friend who hits him on the chest every time his friend sees him. “It hurts, and I’m tired of it. Next time I see him I’m going to tape a stick of dynamite to my chest and blow his hand off!” Anytime we try to get even we hurt ourselves. I think it’s best to leave the judgment and punishment up to God.

– Boycotts divide Christians. Those who don’t join the boycott are criticized as disloyal by those who do. Frequently, harsh words are exchanged and Christian friends are alienated from one another. The Scripture encourages us to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).

– As much as possible we need to stay focused on the positive message of the gospel. Ours is a message of good news; Christ died to forgive our sins. He conquered the grave to prove that through His power we can do it also. That’s an urgent message of salvation and hope that everyone needs. We’d be wise to stay on the offensive.

The Apostle Paul was asked by the Corinthians if it was permissible for them to buy meat that was sold at a reduced price in the marketplace because it came from animals that had been sacrificed to idols. Paul concluded eating meat sacrificed to idols was a matter of opinion. He advised his readers to be true to their own conscience and not make their choice of meat a test of fellowship.

I feel the same way about boycotting companies that endorse anti-Christ policies. There are a few businesses that I personally choose not to frequent because I strongly disagree with the owners’ position on moral issues. But my wife continues to stop at Starbucks, and we still speak to one another and go to church together!

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:17-18).

And one final note regarding the Nike slogan, “Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything;” if you’re going to believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything, be sure to believe in that which is true. Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) There are many noble things in which to believe, but none more important than believing in the one true Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.








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Bob Russell Ministries Blog
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Sep
14

Sept 14 Devo

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Does Praying For Someone Make a Difference?

Jun 27, 2018

Q: I don't think it does any good to pray for someone with a health crisis. They'll either get better or they won't, depending on how they react to their medications or surgery. Praying for them doesn't make any difference, as far as I can tell. -- E.W.

A: As I read your letter I couldn't help but wonder if you've ever personally faced a serious health crisis, either in your own life or in the life of someone you love. When people do, I've found, they almost always pray -- even if they haven't had much to do with God.

Why is this? One reason is because we all know that even with the best medical care, things can go wrong, and healing is not assured. In addition, some situations are so serious that there seems to be little or no hope of recovery. We also know that our bodies and our minds are very closely connected, and if someone is very discouraged or doesn't want to live, their recovery is doubtful. Why not pray for them?

Your question, however, suggests to me that the real reason for your letter is that you simply don't believe God answers prayer, or that He even cares about us. You may not even believe He exists (or at least you're uncertain of it).

Whatever your reasons, I challenge you to examine your doubts in the light of Jesus Christ. He was God in human form, and He came into the world to bridge the gap between us and God. Don't let doubt keep you in its grip any longer, but open your heart and mind to Jesus Christ. His promise is true: "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you" (John 15:7).





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(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)
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Sep
12

Sept 12 Devo

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Is it wrong for me to have a drink with the guys?

Sep 12, 2018
Q: My wife says I could be a better example to my children. She faults me for stopping after work for a drink with the guys after a stressful day. I am working hard to provide a living for my family so they can have more than I did when I was a boy. Is this so wrong? -- D.D.

A: Do more tangible things make for a better family life? Do things bring greater happiness than time spent with loved ones? Children are in the care of their parents for a very short time. A well-known story illustrates this point: It was customary for a lawyer who lived in a small town to stop off after work for a drink. One day, when the snow had fallen, he heard a sound behind him. Turning, he saw his young son stretching as far as he could to step into his father's tracks.

The father asked, "Son, what are you doing?" The son replied, "I'm stepping in your footsteps." The father sent his son home, but he couldn't go into the bar. He realized, then, that a child will emulate a parent by what they see, not always by what they hear. Many parents preach to their children but do not always set good examples. How wonderful it is when moms and dads see the importance of cutting back on social engagements so that they can make "home and family" the center of social life.

Children are impressionable. We need to place God at the center of our families. He is interested in your family, your marriage, and your children. God will honor parents who will teach their families by word and deed for He "blesses the home of the just" (Proverbs 3:33).





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(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)
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Sep
11

Sept 11 Devo

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Why?
The second week of September will forever bring a painful annual memory to every American. In our everyday language, 911 means both the number to call in an emergency and the date on which 2,996 people were killed by hijacked aircraft that were driven into three large buildings and crashed into a field.

By now we pretty much know the what. We still have a hard time with the why. Why would 15 Saudis plus an Egyptian, a Lebanese, and two men from the United Arab Emirates kill that many unarmed civilians? Our countries get along, don’t they? Why do they hate us so?

Irrational persecution is nothing new. King David felt it: “My eyes fail, looking for my God. Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head” (Psalm 69:3,4). These words were prophetic of the thoughts of the suffering Savior as well. Satan loves rage and violence, and he drives people both to rational and irrational violence. There will be more, much more, before the end comes

David, Christ, and we all turn to the same source of security and comfort: “But I pray to you, O Lord, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation” (Psalm 69:13). God’s mighty angels will shield us; God’s superb global management guarantees that all things, even disasters, will work for our good; God’s gracious purposes will all be achieved.








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Your Daily Grace Moment by Pastor Mark Jeske
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Sep
08

Sept 8 Devo

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God-Given Foes and Faith
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ . . . not frightened in anything by your opponents. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake. (Philippians 1:27–29)
Paul told the Philippians that living worthy of the gospel of Christ meant fearlessness before enemies. Then he gave the logic of fearlessness.

The logic is this: God has given you two gifts, not just one — faith and suffering. That’s what verse 29 says.

In this context that means: Both your faith in the face of suffering, and your suffering are gifts of God. When Paul says, don’t be frightened by your opponents he had two reasons in his mind why they don’t need to be frightened:
  1. One reason is that the opponents are in the hand of God. Their opposition is a gift from God. He governs it. That’s the first point of verse 29.
  2. And the other reason not to be afraid is that your fearlessness, that is, your faith, is also in the hand of God. It too is a gift. That is the other point of verse 29.


So the logic of fearlessness in the face of adversity is this double truth: Both your adversity and your faith in the face of adversity are gifts of God.

Why is this called “living worthy of the gospel of Christ”? Because the gospel is the good news that Christ’s blood of the covenant infallibly obtained for all his people the sovereign working of God to give us faith and to govern our enemies — always for our eternal good.

Therefore, fear not. Your adversaries can do no more than God grants. And he will grant you the faith you need. These promises are blood bought and sealed. Gospel promises.









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Devotions by John Piper/Bible Gateway.com
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